Chimney Maintenance: Repointing Chimney Mortar

So your chimney is starting to look in disrepair. Well, assuming the mortar on your chimney is in reasonable shape this is likely an issue you can resolve yourself. You might be wondering what exactly does repointing do for your chimney? Essentially, you remove the old mortar around the outside of the bricks and replace it with newly mixed mortar to strengthen the bonds between the bricks and maintain your chimney’s foundation. Repointing is essentially designed to replace the weakening mortar of older chimneys. Repointing is also often employed as it is significantly cheaper than trying to rebuild an entire chimney requiring fewer materials and much less work.

Materials you’ll need:

Brick trowel*
Cement mixing container
Chisel
Eye protection
Hoe
Ladder
Mortar
Mortar bag Stiff brush for cleaning off dust*
Tuck pointer

*depending on scale of job

All of these materials should be readily available at ant home improvement store such as a Home Depot or Lowes. Supplies may vary depending on your situation, but overall these materials should be adequate for a simple chimney repointing.

Step 1:

Your first step in this process is to remove the old chipping mortar away from the bricks. Starting from the top of the structure, you should brush/chip away at exposed mortar as you work your way down. Using a chisel, pick away at weak and faltering mortar, going back with a brush to remove dusts and small bits of mortar.

Step 2:

Your next step will be to prepare the new mortar to replace the old chipped away outer layer you have just removed. First, take your cement mixing container(a simple wheelbarrow will likely do the job) and pour in package of mortar mixture. Then mix the mortar according the packages particular instructions, likely having you add a certain amount of water and to mix. Using the hoe, mix your mortar solution.

Step 3:

Now, depending on your job, the nest step will vary slightly. For a small job, you may only need a brick trowel and tuck pointer to fill in a small number of gaps. However, if your performing a large job I would recommend using a mortar bag. Its looks like a decorating bag used to dispense frosting on sweets. Now take your mortar bag and fill it with the freshly mixed mortar.

Step 4:

You’re getting close to the finish! Well at least towards the final step. With mortar bag in hand proceed to refill all the chiseled out mortar. Don’t worry about it being to perfect you will go back later and smooth it out. Once you have successfully refilled all of the mortar you’re almost done!

Step 5:

Having replaced all the mortar take your tuck pointer and go back and smooth out all the freshly placed mortar. Simply take the tuck pointer and smooth out and rough or uneven areas. Having completed this final step, all you have to do is clean up your mess!

Following these simple steps you can easily repoint your chimney with very little work or experience. However, if you are unsure of the stability or severity of damage to your chimney it could be best to have someone inspect the structure before you decide to repoint the chimney. Repointing could be delaying a more serious problem regarding your chimneys foundation. So if you are unsure of your chimneys safety try to find some help and decide if your chimney needs to be relayered or simply repointed.

Good luck and BE SAFE.

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